20110729

Miller drops MGD 64 lemonade beer

You know that lemonade version of MGD 64 Light Beer that MillerCoors introduced a few months ago?

No? You're not alone. The brewer has discontinued the product due to consumer apathy.

"Winning in beer requires testing the bounds of the market with innovation," a company official wrote earlier this week in an e-mail to MillerCoors distributors. "With that commitment, however, comes a recognition that not every innovation will succeed. That is the case with MGD 64 Lemonade, so we have decided to discontinue this line extension."

Miller plans to buy back whatever existing retail stock it can.

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20110723

'Craft Beer Exchange' at convenience stores

Fill 'er up, please.
From Convenience Store News

BUFFALO, NY -- Sunoco Inc. has tapped 12 of its APlus convenience stores in western New York State to test its pilot program, the Craft Beer Exchange.

Under the new program, "beer-filling stations" were installed at convenience stores that are allowed to sell draft beer in growlers (glass jugs that are typically 64 ounces), according to a report on CNBC.com.

"Buffalo is a good testing location because there is a critical mass of Sunoco retail locations," spokesman Thomas Golembeski explained. "There is a large beer-loving community and a strong group of microbreweries in the area."

Now in the second month of a three-month test phase, Sunoco is working with area beer distributors to choose the beers on tap and will seek customer feedback through suggestion boxes and customer service representatives. In addition, Sunoco APlus employees visited a local distributor to train on safety and sanitation, and also went to Plying Bison Brewery to practice filling jugs, the news outlet reported.

"The feedback has been very positive," Golembeski said. "During the first month, it has been a success just by word-of-mouth alone. It's very clear there is an interest in it."

Sunoco operates more than 600 APlus convenience stores in 24 states along the East Coast and as far west as Ohio.

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20110719

NYC beer bar cultivating its hops

NEW YORK -- The Stag’s Head, voted one of the "30 Best Beer Bars in America" by Paste magazine, isn't resting on its laurels. In fact, the gastropub is cultivating an entirely different plant -- its own hops.

The tavern, located at 252 East 51st Street in Midtown East, has planted Sunbeam hops in its rooftop garden. Sunbeam is a 21-year-old variety derived from the Saaz hop, a traditional pilsner hop. The plants already have hit the 15-foot mark and may get even higher since some examples of the variety reach as much as 30 feet in height.

These hops are females, so they will start to flower any time from late July to September. The tavern will be adding a fresh-hopped beer, also known as wet-hopped, to its rotation of craft beer in late August to September. The staff also will use the hops as garnishes for IPAs, and hoppy pale ales and pilsners.

In addition, Chef Bruce Dillon plans to experiment with the hops on his summer menu.

[Go here for the state-by-state selections for the "30 Best" list.]

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